tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN September 28, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
sporting "situation room" hosting dougie dancing hipster ever to steal my glass. yeah. i'm sorry. i just had to get that one in one last time. that does it for us. erin burnett "outfront" starts now. intelligence breaks its public silence over what was known in the hours after the deadly attack in libya. so how long before the white house confirms it? and what do pythons and lyme disease have to do with the election? and the murderous grisly end to the life of a young actor and the man who tried to get him help. his lawyer's "outfront." let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone. "outfront" tonight, al-qaeda. terrorist attack.
preplanned. finally, u.s. intelligence broke it public silence on the attack in libya where four americans were killed. the spokesman said and i quote him, it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists who were linked to groups affiliate ed with or sympathetic to al-qaeda. now, this follows reporting you've heard here this week indicating u.s. intelligence knew about links between the attackers and al-qaeda within 24 hours of the attack. that knowledge though was not shared by the white house or the state department with the public or with congress. in fact, congress was briefed over a week ago on september 21st and at that time, not told about the al-qaeda links. when hillary clinton speaking at the units nations wednesday, implied an al-qaeda link we reported on, the state department later corrected her, saying she was speaking generally, not about the attack in benghazi. now, u.s. intelligence sources
tell cnn tonight that in the immediate after math of the attack, they thought the attack might have been, their word, spontaneous. okay, this is going to be a crucial word to define. what exactly is immediate aftermath? because the white house and the state department stuck with the spontaneous version of events for eight days. >> we are very cautious about drawing any conclusions with regard to who the perpetrators were, what their motivations were, whether it was premeditated. >> this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. >> based on the information we had at the time and have to this day, we do not have evidence that it was premeditated. >> all right. these same people apparently knew a terrorist attack was perpetrated by al-qaeda within 24 hours after the attack, so the lack of information sharing does not seem to add up. tonight, representative peter
king is calling for the resignation of u.s. ambassador to the u.n. susan rice for what he says was misleading comments about the attacks in libya. yes, this issue has become political, but it is more than that because even if u.s. intelligence didn't know the specific details of an impending attack, here's what they and we do know. three days before the attack, senior u.s. embassy officials were warned by the libyan militia connected to the government, they couldn't secure benghazi. the british ambassador was attacked in june and of course, the attack happened on september 11th and once again, once the attack happened, u.s. intelligence knew within 24 hours that it was linked to al-qaeda. also, "the daily beast" eli lake reports they even knew the
location of at least one of the attackers. eli is with me tonight on what u.s. intelligence knew in the immediate aftermath. also with us is jeff porter, an adviser on political and security risks and jeffrey cousins. great to see you. and eli, let me start with you. you have had so much of the first reporting on this and now, you have some more information on when intelligence intercepted some of those communications in the immediate aftermath of the attack. what were the extremists, the attackers, talking about? >> the conversations were between members of al sharia, a local organization that has an affinity for al-qaeda and al-qaeda and the islamic s magnificent magreb, an affiliate for al qaeda for all of north africa. in those conversations that were monitored or picked up in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, there was a kind of bragging to, from the sharia,
the local militia, to al-qaeda, middle manager types. one source who had seen these intercepts described the relationship as one where the middle managers were clearly the superior, but no one has concluded they actually planned these attacks. one source has described this that al-qaeda and the islamic maghreb played kind of an advisory role, the role of a coach or big brother, if you will, giving advice on what to do in the aftermath. how to prompt security and what to expect in terms of the united states. >> and you also reported of course that the united states intelligence knew of at least the location of one of the attackers. do we have any idea where this person is now? >> there are some mixed reports. people arrested by the libyan
authorities and aftermath, and some other individuals who are identified as part of the attackers. all told, about 100 people led a very advanced attack on the consulate and an ex. you're talking about a sophisticated attack, using mortars aimed precisely as well as rocket propelled grenades. in the aftermath, the united states had a bead on four and very good information on one. but there were also information and there was some activities obviously from the libyan authorities as well. >> so, let me ask you, jeff porter, about something that eli just said. advanced military assault. precision aimed rockets. this isn't something you just do because you feel like it. >> right. you know, but it's important to
understand about the libyan security environment that it's very porous. there's abundant weaponry. that's all been stolen from gadhafi's arsenals during the revolution. there is in security services. so, when we talk about preplanned, we have to decide whether it was something that had been planned months in advance, weeks in advance or something that was hastily put together, a couple of cell phone calls half an hour before. they knew ambassador stevens was there and seized the moment. so it may have been planned, but 30 minutes beforehand. >> and of course we get into the whole question of immediate aftermath. when did u.s. intelligence now, when did they tell the white
house, which is going to become a crucial issue, who is to blame for any errors that may have happened. from your reporting and you've done a lot in terms of studying these jihadist and extremist groups, what i find incredibly ironic here is that these groups linked to al-qaeda wanted moammar gadhafi to be killed. that was something that was accomplished by the united states, who are they are now trying to attack. >> that's right. they don't care who does their work for them so long as their work gets done. yes, they wanted gadhafi killed. there was a group called the libyan fighting group, the organization, they tried to assassinate gadhafi in '96 and gadhafi retaliated massively and they all fled, joined up with al-qaeda. during the revolution, they re-formed. not necessarily named as such, then they leveraged the nato support, which assassinated gadhafi. >> jeff, let me ask you, how big of a problem are these groups right now? >> well, i think they're a major problem. they don't represent a great proportion of libyan citizenry, obviously. you're talking about small rejections factions. i would jump on a point nah jeff porter made. a lot of these organizations integrate jihadi veterans who
have some combat experience. whether we're talking about iraq in which libyans represented a very sizable contention of foreign fighters there, or even in the afghan pakistan war zone. you have a lot of folks with a great deal of experience and that also plays into the reason of why we didn't know about this and its entirety before it happened. a lot of these guys are very sophisticated in their secrecy and trade craft. you're talking about the word of mouth, et cetera. >> let me ask you about this crucial question we've been reporting on, which is what appears to be, i mean it is at least from the way it's come out, a real disconnect from what the u.s. intelligence committee is saying they knew and when and what the white house and state department have said. their hesitance from the white house and state department to use the word terrorism and to talk about al-qaeda or al-qaeda linked groups.
>> well, i think there's a difference here between raw intelligence that's coming in in the context of an investigation and journalists on the ground as well as intelligence officers staged throughout the intelligence community are collecting that information and putting clues together. then there is the question of what is the official intelligence product that would go to senior government executives. and the writing of that intelligence product, i'm still trying to figure out what was written, what was the classified version, the unclassified version. were those two different versions and so forth. i have seen one version of talking points that were unclassified that supported what ambassador rice and victoria newland and jay carney had said. that doesn't mean those were the only talking points there were and certainly, the information coming in and people have come to me as a report e, but i'm not the only one. i know cnn has done a lot of great reporting, but people have kind of come out of the woodwork
because they were hearing for nine days, something that just did not make any sense from the information they were seeing as it was coming in. >> thank you very much to all three of you. as we try to still get questions on who knew what when and why there appears to be such a disconnect or why they were not talking about al-qaeda and terrorism much earlier from the white house. will it be the debates that swing the election or lyme disease? he's betting it might be lyme disease and we will explain this, we promise. that and a python. plus, something happened today in the technology world that almost never, never does and it matters for us. and mira sorvino with a terrible story. >> i discovered slavery was alive and well. it's just gone underground. customer erin swenson bought from us online today. so, i'm happy. sales go up... i'm happy. it went out today... i'm happy. what if she's not home?
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trade commission-free for 60 days, and we'll throw in up to $600 when you open an account. our second story, the issue that could decide this year's presidential election. lyme disease. or pythons. it depends which campaign you ask. a mailer making the rounds in northern virginia from the romney campaign touts the candidate's strategy of doing more to fight the spread of lyme disease. yes, that is a real flyer. and earlier, the obama campaign, the burmese python was a real concern for the obama campaign. a tweet from obama's press secretary ensured that residents knew the administration has banned import of the snake. now, you may laugh and there is
some humor in this, but it is r very, very serious for some. ticks and snakes. because these micro targeting campaigns can really move the needle. they're important to crucial voters in crucial states like florida and virginia. ben smith, david frum, former adviser to george w. bush and corey elons. great to see you. so, you know, david, i have to say, lyme disease with so many to joke about this, it's got to be there's some crucial core of lyme disease cases and this is something people care about. turns out loudon county, northern virginia, has one of the highest rates of lyme disease in the country. could this issue really resonate? >> resonates with me. i've had lyme disease. it's nasty. it also is a way for candidates to connect with real issues to real people. who feel that a lot of the issues we discuss are awfully abstract. i mean, benghazi and the embassy, the topic of your last very important segment matters
urgently to the people who watch this program, but a lot of people have more work a day concerns. what will this election mean to me. >> why are you sitting here shaking your head and rolling your eyes? >> i think it's fun, less like anybody notices because there's this thing called the internet, where your micro message of lyme disease becomes your message for the entire country for the day and i know i think people all over the country are, what they're hearing about mitt romney today, he cares a lot about ticks at a moment when he's struggling to find a big message that can change the big narrative of the campaign outside loudon county. >> but the president was going after pythons in florida. >> they're working on it and if the president's day today were consumed by discussion of burmese pythons, that would have been a big loss. >> it would be a pretty scary thing to just run into it. in terms of micro targeting, the president does get a lot of credit there. experts say he's been very, very
good at this. using technology to find out what someone cares about in one specific part of the country, but they now say mitt romney and iowa and new hampshire has worked well for him. who's better? >> well, you have to appreciate what the purpose is at the end of the day. the purpose is to find out what voters in very small territories care about so that you can move those voters, get them to support you, put them on the polls on election day. that's what micro targets is about at the end of the day. who's better? i think barack obama has been better at it as of the 2008 campaign. he was able to do it digitally, more so than with mail. finding youth, finding african-americans, finding women. identifying issues they care about and continuing to hit them with those messages over and over again throughout the campaign. now, we see mail as something that's been done traditionally. it's kind of old school, but still effective in small, rural communities around the country. it's also a way -- >> david, bring david frum in here to your point about using
direct mail because isn't this -- that when you do it the way obama was doing it with a tweet or something, you know, digitally doing this makes more sense than doing a traditional mailer on such a niche topic? >> i think there's a certain amount of interest group prejudice on this. when mitt romney talks about dodd frank, this is micro targeting. dodd frank is obnoxious to probably people than lyme disease is. but they are very wealthy viewers, so their views count for a lot. i take ben's point about don't be distracted. the prop is that the romney campaign's big message have been counterproductive. they should be talking about jobs and employment. they spend a lot f time talking about the ryan plan, medicare and medicaid. talking about lyme disease is a big improvement over a day spent talking about taking medicare away from people. >> that is the faintest craze of a political campaign you're going to hear.
it's not -- at a moment when mitt romney is losing, it does not strike me that that's going to turn it around. >> we're going to be finding out what they are focused on. up next, a shocking admission from apple. truly shocking from this company and today, new details released in the massacre at the colorado movie theatre in aurora. why the man accused of the murders was banned from his college campus well before the incident. with less chronic low back pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one non-narcotic pill a day, every day, can help reduce this pain. tell your doctor right away if your mood worsens, you have unusual changes in mood or behavior or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. cymbalta is not approved for children under 18.
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tim cook, the ceo of apple apologized to iphone users. shocked everybody. he had to apologize, because apparently their app for maps really bad. disappointing. in a letter, cook wrote at apple, we strive to make world class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. with the lauren of our new maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. he even said to customers, go use a competing map program until we improve ours.
that's a pretty amazing admission and pretty take the high road from a company like apple. that actually nothing to do with the map app everyone was going crazy about. it would be that for the first time ever, smart phone users used instagram more than twitter. accessed by 7.3 million in august. they were also more engaged with what they were doing. the average user spent 87 more minutes on the site than on twitter. now, twitter is still winning the number of unique visitors that go to its website, but it's a huge milestone for instagram, which is only two years old. it to date has shared more than five billion photos. that brings me to tonight's number. 6 billion. that's how many photos are upgraded to facebook every month. that's right, facebook up loads
a billion more photos. it is the world's largest photo sharing site, but they were still worried and scared by instagram, so facebook bought instagram for about $700 million. a few weeks ago, mark zuckerberg said mogul a whole lot of times. he said it was the future of his company. well, instagram is going to be a big part of that. it's been a rough week for the romney campaign, but does the state of virginia offer a comeback? a new poll that shows something very different. and a successful young actor found dead in the driveway with thedeceased and the home and a cat dismembers. our guest says he raised the red flag but his warnings went heeded. help rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time.
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we start the second half of our show with stories we care about where we focus on our reporting from the front line. we are learning more about the history of the man accused of killing 12 people in the colorado movie theatre shooting in july. according to documents released today, james holmes threatened somebody at the university of colorado and had been banned
from campus. prosecutors say this person was a professor. the documents also show investigators obtained text messages that holmes exchanged with someone prior to the shooting, although the content were not made public. socialist french president unveiled the budget for next year. he wants to save $39 billion and to do that, he has proposed spending cuts and tax increases. he is going ahead with what some thought was a threat. it is not a threat. it is real. a 75% tax on the wealthy. that's right. if you make over a million euros, about $1.3 million, you're going to have to pay 75% of it. an analyst say the cuts will help, but they're not enough to meet the government's goals and we're already aware of some who are moving. two soil samples have been taken from roseville, michigan to search for jimmy hoffa's body. we should know the results on monday. if human remains are detected, there will be more excavation. the police chief is saying,
quote, there's no discernible remains found in today's search. he was the former teamster's boss who went missing in 1975 and declared dead seven years after that. it has been 421 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. more people said they think more jobs would be created in the coming months. that of course is a really big thing. more jobs will slash that deficit. our third story, another day, another bad set of numbers for mitt romney. there are two new polls today by the american research group and they have mitt romney trailing president obama in two more swing states. five points in new hampshire and two in virginia. although i wanted to highlight the virginia one. there had been other polls to show that gap wider. this would be a much better than expected result than some of the others we've seen. this week, all in has not been kind to the republican
candidate, as polls have shown him falling behind the president. but he is not showing any change in confident. >> i've got a little secret here and that is that obama campaign thinks that pennsylvania is in their pocket. they don't need to worry about it. and you're right and they're wrong. we're going to win pennsylvania. we're going to take the white house. >> he's going to have to overcome a big deficit to do it, but people do like a comeback kid. max, jen, the obama campaign press secretary. two very different problems. one, you don't want to get complacent and two, you don't want to get too far behind. matt, mitt romney was in pennsylvania today. obviously, the poll of polls that we have here show him behind ten points. i know he had a fund-raiser in that state. is he really trying to win pennsylvania? >> sure, when you're in a presidential race, you're trying to win everywhere you go.
if you look at these polls overall, i think there's a little hype going on with the obama numbers. if you look at the rasmussen numbers, if you look at battleground states, he shows the race tied and if you look at a lot of these polls coming out across the country, romney and obama are tied with independents. that's a key indicator for your viewer to keep watching. if romney's tied with independents, then it's a question of the turnout model. every number i see shows republicans very enthusiastic. that shows this race continues to be tight and winnable for governor romney. >> jen, do you think this race is winnable for mitt romney? >> we're going to run in every state like we're five points down and we've always said this race was going to be close, so our message to our supporters is don't be complacent. don't rest on any polls. put your blinders on. keep focus on the playbook.
we'll sleep and hopefully celebrate on november 7th. we know there's going to be twists and turns. it's a narrower path than i think we would like, but still, 38 days is a long time to go. >> she's got to say that, right? she's got to get her people out to vote. i want to ask you because there's been so much criticism of the polls from the romney side of things. people have said the polls assume more democrats are going to turn out. at cnn, our polls do not assume that and chris wallace, fox news, said the criticism of the polls craziness. he said no self-respecting pollster in the country would a political party, so even fox doesn't seem to be backing the conspiracy theories on your side. >> all i'm doing is trying to explain there are different polls. one of the numbers your viewers should keep watching is to look at obama -- president obama's
job approval ratings. they have been in the mid 40s for much of the year. twice they've spiked to around 50. right now, he's around 50. this is about a high water mark for president obama. each time he has gotten to that magical 50% has immediately dropped back down. look, if he can keep his job approval rating at 50 or higher, he's going to be in a good position, but he's never been able to do that. if you see that drop again, you'll continue to show polls that show this is tight. >> jen, your internal polls for the obama campaign, do they show it like gallup, like cnn or tighter like rassmusen? >> well, we're -- >> come on. >> we're not focused internally or externally on the national polls. we're focused on seven to nine states, as i'm sure the romney team is as well. some, we're close, some we have more of a lead on. but it doesn't matter because we have 38 days to go and we need our supporters to turn out.
it doesn't matter unless they cast their vote. so that's what our focus is is now. turning people out. it's already game day. already voting is happening and we need to keep our focus on november 6th. >> so, matt, what is it really about? i keep hearing, people are talking about getting the base out and that it comes down to the base. we had on one of the preachers saying it's all about the base. mitt romney needs to get the base out, but you said no, it's about those independents. those people who aren't on either side. am i saying too much to say you're saying it's not about the base? >> no, i just think people sometimes get confused with elections. they try to act like maybe a race can only be about the race or independents. when you're running a presidential campaign, you're trying to do both. trying to make sure your core supporters are excited and energized to come out. taking all the steps with your ground game. but you have to reach out to this slender and small group of
undecided voters in the middle what haven't made up their mind yet. some are conservative, some are liberal. they're still up for grabs. so the art of politics is you've got to kind of reach out to both at the same time. all the polls i see show that governor romney has great enthusiasm with the base of our party and if he's tied or better with independents, that means he's in a great position in this race. >> well, we shall see. jen, matt, thanks to both and now, our fourth story. a story of mental illness and drug abuse. tonight, we are learning new and disturbing details about the life of johnny lewis in the months and weeks before he murdered his elderly landlady and ultimately fell to his death as he tried to get away. also a dismembered cat. there have been stories he was exhibiting superhuman strength. no one is sure what sort of trug he may have been on. the story is bizarre and tragic. "outfront" tonight, defense attorney jonathan mandel.
you represented johnny in two cases. can you tell us a bit about his behavior? >> behavior with me was fine when he was in treatment and also in the twin towers facility. if you were asking, i think you were asking about his behavior that led to the charges? is that right? >> so, i just -- something just came in i want to read to you. we just spoke be with the los angeles county probation department. i'll quote them. they said on may 17th, probation report states johnny lewis suffers from some form of chemical dependency, mental health issue and lack of permanent housing. given this, lewis will continue to be a threat to any community in which he may reside? do you agree with that? >> at the time, no and now, no. it may have turned out that way, but what was known in may about johnny was that he had two fairly minor offenses, which were fortunately not serious. and he did have a diagnosis
eventually of chemically induced psychosis is not what the situation was when we talked about it with the district attorneys and judges. this was the reaction of what he did at this point was well beyond whatever was expected. so now, i don't agree with the report even though at this point in time, it may appear to be accurate. >> okay, so do you know what sorts of drugs he would use? i'm specifically referring to what appears to be doing this horrific incident that happened earlier this week, that he had tried to flee and people had seen him and said he exhibited super human strength, clearly seemed to be on something. do you know what sort of drugs he was using? >> i first represented him in april and from april till august or september, he was probably using no drugs at all because he was incarcerated for a couple of months, then went into a
treatment facility. what drugs he was using before that may have caused him to be psychotic may have been xanax, marijuana, but i do not think it was anything that heavy. the drug he may have used upon release may be some type of designer drug, similar to pcp, but in the time i knew him, he did not evidence any drug behavior. he did appear to be delusional, but i never got the sense he was an addict. >> i know you've spoken to his family and his family had tried also valiantly to get him to seek help, right? >> well, the family was helping. we were getting him help. he was in a treatment facility. which seemed to be working, ironically, and the family was very supportive, particularly, his father, michael, was wonderfully supportive. >> so, is it your belief he could have done what obviously
it's unclear what happened, but that he could have killed this elderly woman, 81 years old, dismembered the cat, the horrible things that seem to have happened? >> was it my belief he could have done it? no, absent the use of some powerful drug which probably caused it. johnny had problems. certain issues. a bit unhinged at times, especially with delusions, but never that were that powerful. his prior offenses weren't even close to that. it had to have been, my belief is that if he did take a drug, it was the drug that was responsible for it and also, the combination of that and his mental issues. >> thank you very much. certainly something very bizarre with some of these reports we've heard recently with these designer drugs and what they can cause people to do. mira sorvino comes "outfront" next to talk about a crucial issue.
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now to tonight's outer circle where we reach out to our sources around the world and first, a story we have been covering all year in beijing, where a man thought to be the next president of china has been thrown out of the communist party. he is embroiled in a murder and bribery scandal and has been charged with improper sexual relationships with multiple women. >> erin, the communist party announcement came like a political bombshell. the charismatic and controversial politician widely expected to get promoted into the elite group who runs china has been expelled from the party, accused of corruption, influence peddling, bribe taking and womanizing. several weeks ago, his wife, a lawyer and business consultant, was tried and given a suspended
death sentence. found guilty of murdering british business man neal haywood. it was haywood's death and the the experts say that set off the political scandal which led to his dismissal. the announcement said will be handed over to the chinese judicial -- signals he could face a criminal trial. if found guilty, one observer said bo could face a life sentence. >> all right and now, our fifth story. fighting human trafficking. this week at the clinton global initiative, president obama vowed to crack down on what slavery and he's not alone. mira sorvino has traveled around the world on this issue and now, she's starring in a new hollywood film, trade of innocence. earlier, i spoke with her and started by asking her how important hearing the president
of the united states in a campaign year talk about this issue is. >> for all of us working on modern day slavery, it was gigantic, to have the leader of the free world say that trafficking is slavery. make no mistake about it. that was huge. the fact he said to treat victims as victims, not criminals, the gigantic, especially in the realm of underage sex trafficking because too often across our country, children and teenagers are arrested for the crime of prostitution rather than being seen through the lens as vick tills of the severest form of human trafficking. >> and a lot of these victims are, you mentioned the word prostitutes, a lot of this is sex, right? >> in this country, it's about 50/50. 50% labor trafficking.
50% sexual slavery. >> where is it happening? i know it can be happening close es to places like the white house. >> it's happening about three blocks from the white house on avenue k, i believe, there is a place that at 9:00 p.m. at night, you can find an underage person to have sex request with you. you will buy that sex from her trafficker and instead of being labled a pedophile, if you get caught, according to one d.c. leader, in 300 cases she's worked with on underage trafficking, not once has the john been arrested. not once and this is kids as young as ten being caught in the act. and the kid is taken in by law enforcement and often charged as a criminal for the crime of prostitution and the man buying the services of a minor is sent home, we don't want to ruin your life, we don't want to make things hard for you, go home to your life and family. >> you talk about washington, d.c., but you say this is a problem around the country? >> everywhere. any big city has it. every city in america has it,
but also on the internet. the pimps go on the internet, an app like back page.com, it has an app and you can buy sex over the internet. >> this is a problem for over 20 million people. >> the state ambassador at large said that 27 million people living in slavery today. our film, "trade of innocence" deals with the problem of child sex trafficking in southeast asia, and we made it in take land but for cambodia. >> what got you passionate about this? oscar winning actress, mom, have you a lot going on in your life, and dedicated an immense amount of personal time and passion about this. >> it's meeting survivors. i was meeting for amnesty international, and we covered human trafficking as one of the topics that really affects women and girlses in the world, and i rediscovered that slavery is alive and well, it's just gone underground. illegal now, but thriving, $32
billion a year criminal enterprise, tied with illicit arms trading, and the u.s. government spends more in one month on the war in drugs than it has ever spent on domestic and international programs against slavery since 2000. in one month. and in one month, they spend twice as much in military marching bands as it does fora whole year in anti trafficking efforts. there is something wrong. i know we have a tough time with our deficit, with the budget, but people are so important, and every up with of these people who is safe, right now, only a 1-100 chance that a victim of human traffic willing be saved. when you meet that person, you meet that survivor, and survivors they, they are incredible. but you look into their eyes and you understand person to person viceraly, what they have gone through, being treated lower than an animal and see the bravery, the courage, the fort
t fortitude to help others. and they are so altruistic. i was at the table with the survivors when president obama gave the shoutout. they were blown away and everybody gave him a standing ovation. a very big day for them. they influenced his speech. >> those numbers sure do not add up. thank you for taking the time to share more information about this with us and our viewers. >> thank you. >> to learn more, go to our blog, cnn.com/outfront. you thought the fight over unions was over in michigan, it's kind of quiet. you are dead wrong. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year.
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hall pushing people to vote yes on prop 2, which if passed, would make collective bargaining a constitutional right in michigan. >> thanks. happy to have you on board. >> reporter: in wisconsin, public employee unions lost collective bargaining rights, prop 2 would prevent lawmakers in michigan from doing the same thing. gert compares the attacks against unions in other states and this showdown in michigan to the civil rights movement. she says she is doing everything she can to get people to support prop 2. >> hey, are you a registered voter? do you know about this initiative? do you have a car? do you need a ride to the polls? i'm just excited because this is like that american fight, like they were fighting in the '60s. >> reporter: terry bowman is just as passionate. he's worked for ford at this parts plant outside detroit for 16 years. he's a member of the united auto workers union, but he thinks giving unions more power by changing the state constitution is a bad idea.
especially in a state with high unemployment that's trying to attract new businesses. >> no corporation's going to want to come to michigan. it's going to guarantee an adversarial relationship from the minute they come into the state. >> vote yes. >> reporter: both sides are getting support from outside the state, flooding the airways with commercials. >> don't let them hijack our constitution. >> reporter: dawson bell has been covering michigan politics for the "detroit free press" for 30 years. he thinks that after losing in wisconsin, the pressure is on unions. >> the labor movement recognizes that they need a win in michigan really badly, and on the other hand, if they don't get it, it's going to send a very, very strong signal. so everybody, you know, everybody who's got a dog in this fight anywhere in the country is interested in the outcome here. >> company i work for is fortune 500. make $30 million in profit.